As we see plastic bags float through natural environments with the grace of a bird or tranquility of a jellyfish, it draws questions and concern as to how these foreign, manmade materials have made their way into our beloved natural surroundings, begging the question: Why do we continue to use these non-degradable, single-use bags in Canada?
Our executive director Lois Corbett told the Fredericton Daily Gleaner that a recent poll has indicated overwhelming support for banning single-use plastic bags in New Brunswick’s three major cities. Halifax-based polling firm Corporate Research Associates Ltd. released a survey that found approximately 76% of people in Moncton, 74% in Fredericton, and 70% in Saint John are in support of a plastic bag ban.
The astounding number of supporters on the issue provides an opportunity to make substantial, progressive change in New Brunswick. “I think it’s great… It’s almost as if our awareness of the throwaway culture has developed in leaps and bounds,” Corbett said, “We’re focusing on plastics in the oceans. We’re seeing plastic bags in our trees. We’re starting to get that sense, ‘Maybe this isn’t such a great thing and what can we do?’”
Corbett suggests a provincewide implementation could be the most effective approach, rather than leaving cities responsible for passing similar bylaws. Although no Canadian provinces have looked into a ban on plastic bags, cities such as Montreal and Victoria, B.C. are setting the tone by implementing bans in their cities.
This could be New Brunswick’s chance to be the first province to ban single-use plastic bags. “There is absolutely nothing wrong with a provincewide response to an environmental issue,” Corbett said. “Disposable culture, particularly single-use bags, is an important waste issue. It’s not that they’re just clogging up our closets at home, or hanging on our door knobs, the fact is that they’re getting into the natural environment and it’s a problem.
“I’m hoping the premier and the ministers are sitting around paying attention to this,” Corbett said. It is time for New Brunswick to stand up and take the leap towards a cleaner, healthier environment.
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